OAKLAND, Calif. – Oakland A’s rookie starter Greg Smith was his same old self Tuesday night. The eight men behind him were uncharacteristically productive.
In his previous five starts, the A’s had given Smith only two runs of support. Total.
Oakland sprung for more than that Tuesday night.
Smith (3-4) finally got the run support he desperately needed to erase his four-game losing streak, Jack Hannahan doubled in his 16th RBI of the season, Bobby Crosby stole two bases and had an RBI single, and the Oakland A’s won their fifth game in a row, 3-1, over the Toronto Blue Jays.
"Tell him to take a number and get in line," said A's outfielder Emil Brown. "There are a lot of guys who have pitched good and we haven't scored runs."
Smith had not won a game since April 24 against the Minnesota Twins.
“I was going to make them earn it,” said Smith. “I was going to throw the ball up there and make them hit it.”
Smith indeed earned it, throwing 6 2/3 shutout innings to win his third game of the season. Smith left the game in the top of the seventh to a standing ovation.
Smith was replaced by Alan Embree, who pitched 1 1/3 innings, allowing two hits and one run.
Frank Thomas, who was honored on his 40th birthday with a dancing gorilla, hit a double before coming out of the game in the bottom of the fifth with what was reported as a slight strain of his right quadricep.
“I hope it’s just a strain,” said Thomas. “I hope it’s nothing serious, because I’m feeling like the old me.”
This was Thomas’ first game against Toronto since he was released by the Blue Jays on April 20. After a disappointing beginning to the season in Toronto, Thomas was cut after he continued to complain about his lack of playing time.
Thomas’ season has turned around completely in his second stint with Oakland. After batting .167 with three home runs in his first 16 games with Toronto, Thomas is batting .322 with four home runs and 16 RBI in 27 games with the A’s.
Emil Brown opened the scoring in the bottom of the second for the A’s while attempting to steal second base. Toronto catcher Rod Barajas’ throw bounced off of Brown’s leg and dribbled into centerfield, allowing Brown to come all the way around and score. Brown has a large bruise on his leg to show for it.
“I got up and started going to third, and I saw the base coach waving me home,” said Brown. “I just planted my feet and just kept going.”
Oakland threatened later in the second with Mark Ellis on second and Daric Barton on first after a single. Kurt Suzuki and Hannahan then both struck out swinging.
The Oakland bats awoke in the bottom of the fourth. Hannahan doubled to score Suzuki before Crosby followed with a single to score Hannahan.
Toronto starter A.J. Burnett (5-5) had a strong outing in the loss, pitching 5 2/3 innings, striking out 10, walking two, and allowing three runs on seven hits.
Toronto’s only run of the game came on an RBI single by Kevin Mench in the eighth.
Huston Street earned his 12th save in 14 chances.